Connecting charitable school with donors, globally

Sukrupa is a charitable organization in Bangalore, India, that educates children living in poverty in urban slums. The school provides safe surroundings, nutritious meals, and education to more than 400 children in and around R.T. Nagar, Bangalore.

Not far away in Bangalore, we conduct training for newly hired consultants from around the world in an intensive six-week session called ThoughtWorks University (TWU). TWU focuses on the methodologies practiced at ThoughtWorks, and because the best way to learn is by doing, each TWU class implements a real-world software project using Agile.

In keeping with the company’s core values, including promotion of social justice and volunteerism, TWU worked with Sukrupa from January through May of 2011, resulting in three successive classes delivering software to solve real problems, and help advance Sukrupa’s mission.

The initial TWU class, 22 new ThoughtWorkers and 7 trainers, landed at Sukrupa in mid-January, after a week in the classroom learning methodology and practices. With a delivery deadline just weeks away (each TWU class runs six weeks), the team met with Sukrupa representatives for a quick Inception to identify and prioritize needs, and decide the goals for a five-week plan.

The founder, Ms. Krupa Dass, herself began the process the evening before, with an overview of the school, its operations, and its mission. For many of the new ThoughtWorkers, coming to India itself was a bit of culture shock, but it was truly moving to hear Krupa’s overview and stories of the situation faced by the children in the slums, and in impoverished rural areas.

TWU students and trainers met weekly with Sukrupa to review requirements, and the Sukrupa folks came onsite to TWU for weekly showcases to give feedback on the working software.

The first team concluded in late February, with a new website released, integrated with the Ammado global donations platform, and Wordpress for an easy way to keep news about the children and the school updated, helping create a global donor community.

Extensive handover notes and videos got the second and third TWU classes fast. The second and third teams both were able to leverage from the foundation created by the first, and the Sukrupa representatives were familiar with the process by then.

This was not “just a training project;” the ThoughtWorkers felt the need to get things accomplished as planned, to make a difference for Sukrupa. They quickly encountered a typical real-world issue: the Sukrupa representatives were absorbed with ongoing work, quite important work, aside from the TWU project. Although showcases and meetings sometimes had to be delayed and/or rescheduled, all three of the TWU projects ran on track and each class released valuable work in just five weeks.

As a result of this collaboration between TWU, the ThoughtWorks Social Impact Program, and Sukrupa, the organization has its donations lifeline back, and staff have new tools to make them even more productive than before. Over sixty-five ThoughtWorkers learned lessons about life, in addition to their lessons about delivering real-world projects.

The Sukrupa school has been helping children and young adults for over 9 years, making do with what they have. To help out, please email for information on volunteer opportunities.

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